Calling for more governmental support for domestic businesses, Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar on Friday stressed the need for strong policies to foster and promote manufacturing in India.
Mr. Jaishankar was speaking at the inaugural session of the fifth Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) 2021. The three-day AED, which ends on February 28, is being jointly hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Pune International Centre (PIC).
“It is the business of government to support domestic businesses. And not just big businesses but especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)… We need to stand up for our businesses,” said the Minister, while remarking that India had so far not done enough in this regard.
Dr. Jaishankar was speaking during a panel discussion with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on the theme of ‘Resilient Global Growth in a Post-Pandemic World’. The session was chaired by businessman Dr. Naushad Forbes.
Dr. Jaishankar pointed out that while no country can or should attempt to do everything by themselves in a globalised economy, there existed a huge potential for manufacturing which had not been fostered by the right policies at home till now.
“People today expect the government to bat for them… Nobody plays a cricket match without match practice or without reading the pitch. It is not just the business of Indian diplomacy to do business, it is the business of the government to support businesses. Every government in the world does that, we in India haven’t done that enough. However, I think that is changing,” Dr. S. Jaishankar said.
He further observed that jobless growth was not “a testimony to the policies of a growing country” and that a lot more people-centric policies, both at home and abroad, were the need of the hour.
Ms. Payne spoke of the comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and Australia that had elevated the bilateral relationship between the two countries to a significant level.
The theme for this year’s AED is “Post COVID-19 Global Trade and Finance Dynamics”. The conference will see international participation from Foreign Ministers of a number of countries, as well as senior bureaucrats, industry leaders and global financial experts.
Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, president, PIC, in his opening remarks said that the AED would help bring in deliberations that would set the tone for “a better post-COVID-19 world with a sustainable growth”.
“This is an opportunity for rethinking and re-inventing,” he said.
Earlier, Dr. Mashelkar had said that the AED was part of a strategic agenda to make it the “Davos of East” on global geo-economics in keeping with the shifting of economic gravity from the West to Asia.
The second day of the AED (on February 27) will commence with an industry-focused session on ‘Building reliable global chains’ that is to be addressed by senior corporate leaders and industrialists from across the globe.
On February 28, there will be a session on international development cooperation with veteran diplomats as well as the Foreign Ministers of Bhutan, the Maldives and Mauritius sharing their insights.